Colossians #10

Having Blotted Out The Bond

“…you…did He make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that were against us, which was contrary to us, and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross, having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:13-15). In this reading we are told Christ has “blotted out the bond.” What is this bond which Christ has blotted out?

Some explain the bond to be our debt to sin, which debt Christ nailed to the cross and that this “bond written in ordinances” is his reference to this. None who are conscious of the mission of Christ to save “his people from their sins” and that he poured out his blood “unto remission of sins” would deny that our sins have been “nailed to the cross” (Mt. 1:21, Mt.26:28). Acknowledging this, then, are we identifying that “nailing of sin to the cross” with “blotting out the bond”? We are not.

Three times in these verses the word “having” is found: “having forgiven;” “having blotted out;” having despoiled.” All three refer to three distinct things accomplished by Jesus in his death on the cross. Consider each of these.

“Having forgiven…” (v. 13). As in Ephesians, treatment of Gentile and Jew who are united in Christ, the Colossian writer first speaks of what God did for the Gentile (you) “he made alive with him” (v. 13). Then, he speaks of both Jew and Gentile “having forgiven us all our trespasses.” Gentile and Jew find forgiveness together in Christ.

“Having blotted out the bond.” This is the second thing Christ accomplished in his death. This “bond blotted out” was (1) written in ordinances, which (2) was against us and (3) which was contrary to us. Notice again the parallel passage in Ephesians. Christ “made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph. 2:14f). Can any doubt that the “law of commandments, contained in ordinances” of the Ephesian letter to be a reference to Moses’ law? Is it only coincidental that the enmity, the law of commandments is contained in ordinances just as is the bond which was against us, was also written in ordinances? Certainly not! How was the law contrary to us? It was a dividing wall between Jew and Gentile–US. It identified sin and pronounced judgment upon the sinner.

That the “bond written in ordinances” has reference to the law and not to sin is seen in his conclusion “let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day…” (2:16). Why are none to judge us regarding these things? WHY? Because the bond written in ordinances “hath been taken away’ nailed to the cross…the law regarding these things.

“…Having despoiled the principalities and the powers…” (v. 15). By the cross Christ despoiled the principalities and powers just as is stated in Hebrews 2:14. “That through death he might bring to nought him who had the power of death, that is the devil.” Christ triumphed over these (the principalities and the powers) in it–the cross.

Christ not only triumphed over Satan through the cross, through his death “he delivered all them who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage.” Wondrous were these things which were accomplished in Christ’s cross: “having forgiven us all our trespasses”…”having blotted out the bond written in ordinances which was against us;” “having despoiled the principalities and the powers…by it.”

Jim McDonald

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